African swine fever High risk of migration

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
As the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) works on highly infectious animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever.
Photo: imago images / Jens Koehler
As the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) works on highly infectious animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever.

The President of the German Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), Prof. Dr. Dr. hc Thomas C. Mettenleiter, does not believe that the necessary protection against African swine fever (ASF) is affected by the current corona events.
"ASF is a notifiable animal disease, which must be rapidly combated with all necessary measures if it occurs in Germany, regardless of the current pandemic situation with Sars-CoV-2", says FLI President Mettenleiter in an interview with the news agency Agra-Europe. In it he describes the risk of an ASF introduction as undiminished high and appeals to the animal keepers to strictly observe the pig keeping hygiene regulation.

The FLI president sees the Czech Republic as a good example of successful control. It is important that an entry is recognised quickly and that a consistent response is made: "Early detection is the be-all and end-all", emphasises Mettenleiter. Therefore, the examination of wild boars found dead must be continued as a priority and the finding of dead wild boars must be reported.

The head of the institute is also concerned about the incidence of infection with avian influenza, which has not yet come to a halt. Eastern European countries in particular are affected by outbreaks in poultry farms. For local poultry farms, an improvement in biosecurity measures is "of utmost importance". Free range poultry farming remains possible provided that all precautionary measures are taken to minimise direct or indirect contact with wild birds.
Schweine in Griechenland
(Bild: Imago Images / Imagebroker)

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Critical points

Mettenleiter classifies the health and hygiene status in domestic livestock farming as still good. However, there are differences "from animal husbandry to animal husbandry and from animal species to animal species". "In cattle husbandry we are still a long way from the situation with pigs and poultry, for which there is a corresponding hygiene regulation," emphasises the scientist. The institute's president attributes a decisive influence on the hygiene status of a herd to the management, regardless of the size of the herd: "Well-managed small farms can be better than badly managed large animal holdings and vice versa."

Mettenleiter is cautious in its assessment of livestock density regions from an animal health perspective. There are "quite critical points", he says and refers to a necessary discussion that has to be held at political level. The FLI President calls on farmers to give high priority to the associated questions in view of the continuing undiminished danger of animal diseases: "When building new stables, not only animal welfare but also aspects of protection against the entry of infectious agents should be taken into account, for example in the protection of turkey stables".


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